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Post date: December 8 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Hospital Employee Charged With Obtaining Narcotics Using Forged Prescriptions

Alleged Drug Diversion Discovered Through Schneiderman’s I-STOP System

Schneiderman: I-STOP Works As Planned; Will Help Quell Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

SCHENECTADY- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Kristie Clemovich, a former employee of Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, on charges that she obtained narcotics by presenting prescriptions with the forged signature of a physician assistant at the hospital that were discovered as a result of New York’s I-STOP Prescription Monitoring Program.   

“I am pleased to see that the I-STOP program worked exactly as we envisioned when we created it. Compliance with the law by the nurse practitioner, coupled with diligent patient care, identified possible over-prescribing to her patient,” Attorney General Schneiderman said, “My office will continue working with the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement to root out situations like this one, to help quell the prescription drug abuse epidemic that has ruined lives and ripped families apart across our state.”

The felony complaint alleges that from on or about October 2014 through January 2015, Kristie Clemovich presented seven prescriptions for hydrocodone-acetaminophen to Rite Aid and Walmart pharmacies located in Rotterdam, that were issued in the names of relatives of Clemovich and which bear the forged signature of a physician assistant at the Neuroscience Center of Ellis Hospital.  Three of the prescriptions were issued in the name of a minor and four of the prescriptions were issued in the name of an adult relative who was not involved in the scheme.    The pharmacies dispensed 90 pills of the hydrocodone-APAP, a Schedule II controlled substance, for each prescription, to Kristie Clemovich.   In total, Clemovich allegedly received over 600 pills in less than a four month time period.

The controlled substances were dispensed by the pharmacies until February 2015 when, due to New York’s I-STOP-Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), the forged prescriptions were discovered.  A nurse practitioner treating the real adult relative consulted the I-STOP PMP database maintained by the New York Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and contacted Ellis Hospital regarding unexpected records of prescriptions for Hydrocodone in the relative’s name.  Ellis Hospital staff advised the nurse practitioner that the prescriptions were not issued by the Physician Assistant and that the relative was not a patient of the Neuroscience Center. 

Attorney General Schneiderman thanks the Albany Region Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement for their invaluable assistance in the investigation of this matter.

Clemovich, 45, of Rotterdam, was arraigned in Rotterdam Town Court before Hon. Kenneth Litz and charged with seven counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the 2nd Degree, Class D Felonies.  Clemovich faces up to 7 years in state prison.

The charges against the defendant are accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by Investigator John Benshoff of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with the assistance of Investigator Dianne Tuffey and Upstate Deputy Chief Investigator William Falk, working with Investigator Rick Boettcher of the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and Schenectady Police Department. 

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Erin Lynch with the assistance of Regional Director Kathleen Boland.  Catherine Wagner is MFCU's Upstate Chief of Criminal Investigations.  MFCU is led by Acting Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney.  The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.